Just to be clear, I have no dog in the fight concerning gay marriage,
abortion rights or the legalization of marijuana.
I have, however, read the Constitution of the United States.
Nowhere in it do I find any reference to any of these subjects. I did
find that on March 4, 1789, several amendments to the Constitution
were put into law. For this discussion, the one of importance is the
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,
nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States
respectively, or to the people."
[continues 103 words]
Plan to Create a Marijuana Cartel Would Overrule Local Zoning Controls
The cartel of investors seeking a constitutional monopoly to legalize
and sell marijuana in Ohio really must be using too much of their own product.
Not only would the backers of the proposed November ballot issue have
voters grant exclusive business rights to a limited group of 10
investors and their partners, but they seek constitutional powers to
trump local zoning controls.
Zoning in even the most routine circumstance is a ready battlefield,
with county commissioners and city councils holding legal hearings to
protect quality of life and neighbors' investments. Traffic and noise
studies are done. Land use, drainage and aesthetics are considered.
[continues 425 words]
I respond to the Feb. 9 letter "Legal pot coming but make it fair,"
from Martyn Brodnik. The writer asserted that "legal marijuana is
coming, whether all Ohio residents like it or not. Fortunes will be made."
The problem he identified with legalizing marijuana is the fairness
of who is going to be making these fortunes. I strongly disagree with
Brodnik's assessment, and find the problem to be much more devastating.
In the Feb. 7 Dispatch article "Addiction programs in budget," I read
that "eight of 10 people come to Ohio prisons with a history of
abusing drugs and alcohol." On that same page, I read the Dispatch
article "Two men convicted of heroin trafficking."
[continues 310 words]
WASHINGTON - When Colorado and Washington won permission from the
U.S. Justice Department to begin selling marijuana in retail stores,
the states promised to keep the drug inside their borders and away
It has not been easy for them to do so.
Even before Colorado opened its recreational pot shops last year,
when only the sale of medical marijuana was legal, the state had a
reputation as a top pot exporter.
In 2013, 40 states intercepted marijuana that came from Colorado,
with Missouri ranked first in the number of cases, followed by Texas,
Illinois, Oklahoma and Kansas, according to the Rocky Mountain High
Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program. While no final count has
been released for 2014, there's been no stop in the seizures.
[continues 281 words]
Some of the investors in a for-profit marijuana ballot issue were
revealed yesterday, including basketball legend Oscar Robertson and
fashion designer Nanette Lepore.
But Ohioans still aren't getting the list of all investors or being
told how much individuals gave.
ResponsibleOhio, the group proposing a constitutional amendment to
legalize marijuana for personal recreational and medicinal use,
reported raising $1.78 million and spending $1.34 million on its campaign.
Reports filed with Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted cited total
amounts contributed, but no individuals were listed. Instead, there
are investment groups, headquartered in Cincinnati and Chicago, which
each contributed from $20,000 to $150,000.
[continues 330 words]
A ballot initiative to legalize marijuana and create a forprofit
industry was ripped yesterday by some of Ohio's top elected
officials, who called it "outrageous" and a "stupid idea" to create a
dangerous constitutional monopoly.
"I don't know (if) I've ever seen a worse idea than this," Secretary
of State Jon Husted said at a Columbus forum sponsored by the Associated Press.
Auditor Dave Yost called it "outrageous we are creating business
monopolies by ballot issues. ... What's next, 12 monopolies for
whorehouses in the 12 largest counties?"
[continues 453 words]
Ohioans Should Reject Proposal That Would Create Legal Drug Cartel
The latest in a string of proposals to legalize marijuana in Ohio
provides another example of a secretive, self-serving group trying to
disguise its motives while pushing a supposedly consumer- and
taxpayer-friendly scheme on voters.
The backers of the latest plan have taken a bad idea and made it worse.
The group, laughably calling itself ResponsibleOhio, is gathering
signatures for a November ballot issue that would legalize the drug
for medical and recreational use - something only four states so far
have done - but allow a cartel of only 10 individuals or investor
groups to have exclusive rights to operate one of 10 legal marijuana
businesses in the state.
[continues 377 words]
The New York Times article in the Jan. 4 Dispatch, "High-end dining
takes on a new meaning with edible marijuana," has me shocked and confused.
Marijuana is an illegal substance in our state. Why would the use of
an illegal substance in food be included under the label of "Trends"
in a central Ohio newspaper?
The article itself was more puzzling to me, as it clearly stated that
it doesn't taste good and that the resultant high cannot be
controlled. Why would central Ohio readers need to be aware of a
trend involving a bad-tasting, illeffecting illegal substance?
[continues 204 words]
Backers of a prospective investment-based marijuana ballot issue said
yesterday that they would set up five "testing centers" throughout
Ohio to verify for consumers the chemical content of marijuana for
sale for personal use.
ResponsibleOhio said the testing program would end the uncertainty
about dangerous drugs purchased on the black market.
The centers tentatively would be established in Athens, Lorain,
Mahoning, Scioto and Wood counties, according to a source familiar
with the proposal.
"We've heard too many stories of families who have lost children,
siblings and loved ones because marijuana they purchased was laced
with dangerous drugs like heroin or PCP," said ResponsibleOhio
spokeswoman Lydia Bolander.
[continues 115 words]
The Recreational Use of Marijuana Is Now Legal in Alaska and Oregon,
but the Change Won't Take Effect Until Next Year. Pot-Legalization
Groups Are Looking Ahead to California in 2016.
PORTLAND, Ore. - Voters in the blue state of Oregon and the red state
of Alaska have joined the fledgling green column of the U.S.
political map by choosing to legalize recreational marijuana, but
supporters are not at liberty to light up or buy their cannabis just yet.
Ballot measures approved in both states on Tuesday will take months
to go into effect, with pot enthusiasts in Oregon having to wait
until next summer to legally indulge. Neither state is likely to make
marijuana available for commercial sales before 2016.
[continues 375 words]
Those who used marijuana daily before age 17 were less likely to
finish school and more likely to abuse other drugs.
LONDON - Teenagers who use marijuana daily run a higher risk of
becoming drug-dependent, committing suicide or trying other drugs,
and they are less likely to succeed at their studies than those who
avoid it, researchers said yesterday.
The scientists analyzed studies on marijuana to determine its
long-term health and life effects.
"Our findings are particularly timely, given that several U.S. states
and countries in Latin America have made moves to decriminalize or
legalize cannabis, raising the possibility the drug might become more
accessible to young people," said Richard Mattick, a professor at
Australia's National Drug and Alcohol Research Center at the
University of New South Wales, who co-led the study.
[continues 205 words]
In response to last Friday's letter "Smoking pot has ill effects on
adolescents" from Dr. Peter D. Rogers, I do not disagree that smoking
marijuana is harmful to adolescents. That is a scientific fact.
What he does with this fact, however, is stretch it into an overly
broad, sweeping opinion of all marijuana users.
He mentioned that children showing up to his addiction clinic who
smoked marijuana were doing poorly in school, drifting from their
families and were unmotivated. That is a clear example of selection
bias and does nothing to prove causal effects of marijuana smoking.
[continues 116 words]
The Wednesday op-ed "Drug courts can help reduce recidivism" by Jack
D'Aurora certainly offers a step in the right direction. However, it
is only a step, not the final destination.
I think we need to put up the white flag in the war on drugs. The
most practical approach would be the legalization of most, if not
all, of the illicit drugs. We have spent billions of dollars and seen
innumerable deaths in the attempt to eliminate the supply and dampen
the demand with little, if any, success. Production sites simply
shift when confronted with possible destruction and demand remains unabated.
[continues 172 words]
I respond to Wednesday's op-ed column by Jack D'Aurora regarding the
use of drug courts to reduce Ohio's inmate population. D'Aurora
pointed out many of the benefits of drug courts, but the need for
specialized dockets extends beyond drug-treatment courts.
I am proud to say that Franklin County's judges have been proactive in
reducing incarceration and recidivism rates through the operation of
seven specialized dockets, four of which are drug courts.
In the Common Pleas Court, Judge Dana Preisse has operated the Family
Drug Court in the Domestic Relations and Juvenile Division since 2002
and the Treatment is Essential to Success (TIES) program has operated
since 2004, with Judge Stephen McIntosh currently presiding.
[continues 484 words]
Columbus police and fire chiefs now are subject to random drug tests,
a move safety officials hope will increase accountability and trust
within the divisions.
The city started the random tests for its highest-ranking officers a
few months ago. It's the first time it has done so. Regular officers
and firefighters have been subject to random tests for years.
Safety Director Mitchell J. Brown's office said there wasn't a
particular reason for the new testing other than to hold chiefs to
the same standards as their subordinates.
[continues 346 words]
Marijuana has now been legalized or decriminalized in 17 states and
the District of Columbia, with Maryland joining the list just last week.
Ballot measures to loosen rules on marijuana use could come to a vote
this year in at least five states. Twenty-one states already allow
marijuana for medical use.
What's unhealthy about this trend is that it coincides with a
declining awareness of marijuana's dangers - especially among young people.
Less than 40 percent of high school seniors think marijuana use poses
a great risk, down from 55 percent in 2003. Cigarettes are dangerous,
more and more adolescents have come to realize, but they don't
believe marijuana is. (In fact, they're both unhealthy.)
[continues 396 words]
Global cannabis use seemed to have decreased, reflecting a decline in
some European countries, but a lower perceived risk has led to more
use in the United States, a U.N. report says.
VIENNA - More Americans are consuming cannabis as their perception of
the health risks declines, the U.N. drugs agency said yesterday,
suggesting liberalization could further increase its use among the young.
In a finding that could feed into an international debate on the
decriminalization of marijuana, it said more people around the world,
including in North America, were seeking treatment for
[continues 536 words]
About 10 days ago, our crime reporters heard a dispatcher announce on
a police scanner that two bodies had been found in an apartment on the
Northwest Side. Homicide detectives were on their way.
Reports of a body being found are not uncommon, with people dying of
natural causes, suicides, accidental drug overdoses and such.
But two bodies? That's unusual. Typically, in cases where two bodies
are found it's a murder-suicide or a double homicide, and that's news.
[continues 460 words]
Ethan Nadelmann, the chief architect of marijuana-legalization issues
coast-to-coast, paused when asked if voter approval of medical
marijuana in Ohio is inevitable.
"A good ballot issue will win," he said. "The broader public support is there."
But Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said a
campaign won't happen here this year and probably not in 2015. The
focus this year is on ballot issues in Oregon, Alaska and Florida, he said.
"Support for medical marijuana is very high here," he said during a
stopover yesterday in Columbus. "But there is a very negative
attitude about (recreational) marijuana. Plus, it's a very expensive
state to run a campaign."
[continues 329 words]
Medical-Marijuana Farms in Northern California Accused of Damaging,
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Some drought-stricken rivers and streams in
northern California's coastal forests are being polluted and sucked
dry by water-guzzling medical-marijuana farms, wildlife officials
say. The issue has spurred at least one county to try to outlaw
personal pot gardens. State officials say much of the marijuana
being grown in northern counties under the state's medical-pot law is
not being used for legal, personal use, but for sale in California
and states where pot is still illegal. downstream into the lake and
our water supply," she said. An environmental scientist holds a dead
juvenile coho salmon found in a drought-stricken creek.
[continues 558 words]